A classical think tank lies at the core of the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS), in which scholars from various disciplinary and institutional backgrounds work together on socially-relevant questions of civil security. In doing so, they produce analyses and recommendations about threat potentials, avoidance strategies and countermeasures, and the market for security technologies and services. They identify the need for institutional change and develop scenarios as the basis for preparing for eventual attacks and catastrophes.
Economics of Security
The economics of security examines the provision of scarce goods and services that contribute to the state of security in a particular place. Security is defined as a function of Threat and Protection, with Security decreasing in the former and increasing in the latter.* This broad definition** encompasses activities by economic agents at various degrees of aggregation, from the individual to the state. At BIGS, we deal with decisions made by groups, ranging from groups of individuals, to private companies, to government institutions. We also deal with overarching questions of regulation and market balances.
* Cf. Bretschneider, W., Freytag, A., Rieckmann, J. P., & Stuchtey, T. H. (2020). Sicherheitsverantwortung zwischen Staat und Markt – eine institutionenökonomische Analyse. ORDO, 70(1), S.96.
** Cf. for the broader and narrower definitions also: Brück, T., Karaisl, M., & Schneider, F. (2008). A Survey of the Economics of Security (No. 1). Economics of Security Working Paper. p. 8.
Latest Research Projects
The cash cycle must remain functional in the event of a crisis. BASIC develops a new security framework concept for this purpose. Together with relevant players such as the Deutsche Bundesbank, commercial banks, retailers and cash-in-transit companies, BIGS elaborates how the cycle can be maintained in the event of a breakdown in electronic communications and under difficult conditions.
Together with Neue Köhler Managementgesellschaft (NKMG), BIGS was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) in September 2019 to carry out a study on the topic of “IT Service Providers as Actors for Strengthening IT Security at SMEs in Germany". The HTW Berlin was commissioned as subcontractor to conduct qualitative and quantitative interviews with a selected number of IT service providers and SMEs. In a first step, the BIGS has prepared a market analysis which gives an overview of the relevant literature with reference to the supply and demand side of IT service providers with special regard to IT security.
As part of the thematic area “Civil Security – New Economic Aspects" from the programme “Research for Civil Security 2012-2017", the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded the joint project “The Order of the Security Market" (OSiMa) from 2016 to 2019, with the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS) acting as consortium leader. The OSiMa consortium jointly and multidisciplinary analysed which forms of the good security exist and how they should be organised and financed. In particular, the aim was to show what contribution the private security industry can make from a regulatory point of view and to describe the framework within which new services and organisational forms of protection and security can be created by the security industry.
BIGS is particularly dedicated to the economic and social dimensions within the research field of cyber security. Although cooperation between government, business and science regarding cyber security is improving on the national as well as international level, there is still urgent need for action. This is where BIGS comes into play and uses its organizational and research capacities to tackle various aspects of cyber security from a cross-disciplinary perspective.
These are, firstly, the social and structural changes that result from advancements in information and communication technology. Secondly, questions about constraints put upon various institutions, organizations and actors of cyber security are examined in the interdisciplinary setting of the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security. Aside from issues of internet governance, BIGS also deals with the challenges imposed on the Germany economy by interconnectedness and digitalization. The focus here is on cooperation between business on the one hand and government actors and institutions on the other hand, as well as the safety of highly interconnected industries in the area of critical infrastructures.
Latest Research Projects
Since December 2018 the ITEA-3 Project CyberFactory#1 (CF#1) aims at designing, developing, integrating and demonstrating a set of key enabling capabilities to foster optimization and resilience of the Factories of the Future (FoF). BIGS is the leader of the task Impact Management and is within this task responsible for Community Management as well.
HERMENEUT - Enterprises’ Intangible Risks Management via Economic Models Based on Simulation of Modern Cyber-Attacks
Cyber attacks on companies are now part of everyday life. In this context, cyber risks are somewhat exaggerated, distinguishing only between those companies that have already been affected and those that have simply not yet registered it. However, the classic risk analysis and approach, which aims to protect and insure physical company assets, does not go far enough with cyber attacks. The focus of the EU Horizon 2020 research contribution of the BIGS in the HERMENEUT project, from 2016 to 2019, was the development of an econometric model, which is to serve companies as a basis for risk analysis and for the calculation and accounting of intangible assets in the course of a cyber attack.
The project “Providing a risk situation picture of industrial IT security in Germany" (RiskViz) was funded by the German IT Security Research Program of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The overall aim of the consortium with seven partners from research, industry and practitioners was to improve the German economy's IT security, in particular with regard to CI. Within the RiskViz joined forces to develop methods and instruments to identify ICS that have insufficient protection against cyber-attacks. RiskViz aimed to create a search engine that is capable of finding ICS and of collecting relevant information about the system and its risk situation without interfering with its operations.
Capacity Building for the European Security Reseach
Besides participating in European security research projects itself, BIGS has also developed an expertise in capacity building in the respective field. As a core partner in the supportive action fit4sec for many years, we are involved in partner management of the growing fit4sec-network and provide a platform for active dialogue in the context of Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. Through offering and continuously improving different event formats, we aim to support the establishment of high-performing European consortia. In this context, we have also examined the reasons for the reluctance of German institutions to take on the consortium lead of larger European research projects.
Latest Research Projects
fit4sec is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the initiative “Deutsche Antragsteller fit für Europa”. The supportive action to “Building European Consortia for Security Research” serves as a community and technological-information sharing platform, specifically affording German participants necessary coping mechanisms to better support quality end-user orientation in European security research (Horizon 2020 “Secure Societies”).